Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Eden Open D1: Adversity

So, day one of the New Eden Open is history and I thought I'd write some of my impressions.

First, I was pleased to see that the first day went down with only minor glitches here and there.  At no point did my stream freeze up, and at only a couple of points did it lag or stutter.  That's a terrific improvement over AT10, so great job to all concerned there.  I think the most significant glitch I noticed was that the advertising didn't play on the stream.  Each time advertising was announced, the screen would go blue, the logo would appear, and that's all that I saw.  This is quite embarrassing to CCP, I'm sure, and will probably be the subject of good-natured (or maybe not-so-good-natured) jokes from their corporate tournament sponsors.  Still, expect this to be fixed in a big way tomorrow.

We saw this kind of glitch from time to time on AT10, too: the people running the tournament didn't know that this sort of thing was happening until they were told about it on the forums, Twitter, or by reading blog posts about it.  It's one of the quirks of the format.

I was also embarrassed for CCP that they're not promoting this thing more, but I made that point this morning and hopefully the promotion will step up as things go along.  From what I saw, the stream peaked at about 5100 viewers or so, which isn't too bad.  It's certainly more than the typical own3d.tv stream so hopefully they're happy with what they're buying with their $10000 so far.  Expect to see advertising for the own3d.tv service as well at some point.

The set design and camera work is basic AT10 stuff, with one notable exception: the main commentary desk is obviously placed in front of a green-screen, and the green-screen work is some of the worst that I've ever seen.  Local TV stations do a better job than was done today.  Hopefully, that will be addressed tomorrow, too.  The main problem appears to be lighting, which is far too bright and direct.  That cast obvious shadows onto the green screen; early in the proceedings, I was wondering if CCP Dolan had grown a pony-tail to replace his beard and mustache.  Fix, please.

Moving on to the commentators themselves, both CCP Dolan (former michael boltonIII) and CCP Fozzie (former Raivi) did fine jobs overall.  CCP Soundwave was his usual laconic self.  I was rather interested that Fozzie continues to think of himself as a Pandemic Legion member.  I'm pretty sure I caught him several times during the proceedings today referring possessively to the Why Dash (PL) team.  EVE players that become CCP developers are required to cast off former loyalties.  Between this and Fozzie constantly indirectly referring to the New Eden Open as just another "alliance tournament", the CCP coat doesn't quite fit him yet.  ;-)

Late in the day, I noticed that Fozzie stopped referring to the New Eden Open in that way, so someone presumably pulled him aside and reminded him that this is player-driven eSports, not the same old thing.

The new coat fits CCP Dolan much better, which isn't all that surprising.  Now if he would only say something when he's sure it's true.  Dolan, if you're not sure about something, say "I don't know" or ask.  There's no fault in that.  The fault lies in the gaffes you made over the course of the day because you stated something you weren't sure of.  Still, this was again a minor thing and the commentary today was fine.  I was particularly amused at the requirement for Dolan and Fozzie to change chairs and headsets/mics between matches.  At one point, I caught Fozzie at the end of a match holding his headset, waiting for the instant the camera broke away so he could put it aside and quickly make his way back to the main set.

The matches today?  Also fine.  There was nothing revolutionary that came out of them, which kind of surprised me.  There's no new over-powering meta that emerged from day one, unless it's the non-shocking information that jamming works well with small fleets.  Only at a couple of points were team sponsors mentioned and those sponsors were invariably large null-sec or former null-sec alliances: Nulli, Huns, Raiden, RONIN, Perhelion, and so forth.  Somer.blink was also mentioned once or twice as contributing 10 billion ISK each to all 27 teams.

As for the other teams: Why Dash is Pandemic Legion, Expendables is Hydra Reloaded, Tinkerhell and Alts is Nocturnal Romance, Tengu Terror is a smaller alliance called The Unthinkables, Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters are Suddenly Spaceships, Asine Hitama are Godfathers, Oxygen Isonopes are Goons, Baaaramu is Razor, Africa's Finest is Verge of Collapse (the AT10 winners), and I'm pretty sure Something Else is TEST Alliance...

Er, maybe Fozzie is right to treat this as just another Alliance Tournament.  ;-)

Failheap Challenge has two teams in the tournament: Much Crying Old Experts is USTZ posters (including three Rote Kapelle members) and The Reputation Cartel is EUTZ posters (including one Rote Kapelle member, who I believe is Captaining that team).  That leaves only a small handful of teams that aren't essentially large alliance teams.

Other than jamming, today's matches were mostly dominated by extremely bad Logistics pilots.  Ship banning did not appear to be a major factor, but bad repping was.  I saw many cases of logistics ships failing to rep ships under fire or just flat-out repping the wrong ship while another was under fire.  I also saw several cases of extremely bad target locking on the part of logis.  For example, if your team is Kronos times two, Astarte, Enyo times two, Oneiros, Maulus, Griffin and you are flying the Oneiros, your job is to lock the Maulus and the Griffin first and get one rep on each of them instantly.  The other five ships aren't going to be volleyed off the field, but the two thin frigates might be.  And since armor reps happen at the end of the cycle, you're simply not doing your job if you don't get a cycle started on each of them right away until they can establish transversal and range.

And yet there was at least a half-dozen times today that logi pilots failed in this very basic opening responsibility.  In at least two matches, this lack of opening reps was decisive.  If your team loses a ship in the first five seconds of an eight-man match, it's tough to come back from that particularly if it's an e-war ship that you lose.  And it's critical that as the match goes on, the logi pilot remain flexible and keep a close eye on who really needs reps and who can wait a few seconds.  But even the Logistics pilot on the Incursion Shiny Network team was pretty bad.

You'd think a logi pilot used to doing incursions of all things would know what he's doing.  ;-)

Big match of the day was obviously the Why Dash loss to RONIN.  That changes the whole dynamic of the tournmanet, as far as I'm concerned.  I think it also revealed a weakness in PL's flying.  In their last three tournament losses now, we've seen that when a PL plan is allowed to carry on to its logical conclusion, they are pretty much unstoppable.  However, when something unexpected happens that causes them to lose a ship they weren't expecting to lose... the PL team seems to fall completely to pieces.  They have a hard time responding to adversity, which I found pretty interesting.

Maybe since they face adversity so infrequently in non-tournament settings, they don't know how to deal with it in tournament?

However, I have to admit that the funniest moment of the day for me was Elise Randolph and another Why Dash pilot boundary violating... literally three minutes after the former Raivi made fun of Rote Kapelle for boundary violating in AT10.  Karma, it is a bitch...

On to day two!

22 comments:

  1. Im not a fan of either commentators and would have preferred to seen someone like kil2 there instead of Dolan; he's just so god damned annoying. And compared to the knowledge of EvE in other, more competent commentators of ATX available, why would CCP go with this twat?

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    1. Agreed. I had to turn off sound during ATX, because of his endless off-topic prattle.

      When I found out he was involved in this tourny as CCP Dolan, I knew I wasn't even going to bother watching it - let alone participating in it.

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    2. More than anything, the off topic tangents they went on irritated me most. I dont give two shits about Babe and the backstroy to Baaramu's name.....

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  2. Fozi is PL? Shit, it's a good thing I took those origami lessons because this here tin-foil ain't gonna hat itself.

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  3. "I was rather interested that Fozzie continues to think of himself as a Pandemic Legion member."

    You *do* know that most of the frigate and cruiser ship rebalancing was actually done for Fozzie by PL members, don't you?

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  4. Despite how bad you said the green screen work was, I didn't even notice that it was a green screen. But then I also didn't notice that they had to switch desks between commentating a match and talking between matches. I did find it awkward how they would have to say "okay over to us after these message" every time though. They could probably just play the commercial and reappear at the main desk without mentioning anything about the awkwardness.

    All in all though I enjoyed watching the matches even if they could do with a little more spit and polish.

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  5. ISN's PvE logistics get to take naps anyway since their battleships spidertank.

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  6. The advertising bit is not CCP's issue. Adblock prevents the commercials from running. I don't have it installed and they showed up correctly. It's a bit of a point of contention in the professional gaming scene like Starcraft and League of Legends, because that is how many players support themselves.

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    1. ...really? I had no idea Adblock was that smart. OK, that one's my fault then.

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    2. I've seen LoL casters ask people to turn off Adblock while watching their stream to support them. It's an interesting dynamic, in that everyone hates ads, but in some way I do feel you should support someone entertaining you, especially if its something as ultimately painless as just having an ad play for a few seconds.

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  7. regarding that logi part:

    Playing Logistics in incursions is not in the least compareable to pvp. Basically all you do is hit the gate, orbit the anchor at 5k and look at the broadcasts. That's about it. No piloting skills, no awareness of the situation, just staring at the broadcasts. Most Logi pilots watch a movie or two during several sites, without losing even one ship.

    Source: Been incursion Logi for about half a year myself. Got bored of it, now flying Logi in low/nullsec-pvp.

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  8. Good spot on the green screen thing, I knew something was up because Dolan's "holy glow" was irritating the hell out of me but did not suss out the lighting / shadow issue as the cause.

    I've promoted Star Citizen myself, but made a conscious decision not to buy in. Mainly because the rose won't get a decent sniff if it is not named what really is; Wing Commander Universe.
    I know that is convoluted thinking, but I believe in starting as you mean to go on that labels are important in our world.
    I'd be tempted to buy the rights back if I was in Roberts shoes, or strike a deal on the strength of the kick-starter support.

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  9. I'd like to mention that the scoreboard at the bottom was near unreadable (even at best quality) due to the small font, fuzziness from the compression codec and terrible contrast; Grey on a slightly darker grey does not make for easy readability.

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  10. We just recruited duckslayer, so technically there are 2 RK members on the FHC eu team now

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  11. Tangent: so what would an "Arena" look like in EVE?
    - does it focus on "player" skill or "pilot" skill?
    - is there a "cost" to use it?

    Few RL sports are "pure", especially those with a heavy technological component. In motor racing, for example, money matters, as it affects your R&D and resources. Team skill matters - an elite driver is not going to get anywhere if his mechanics don't know how to tune the car for maximum performance. The "meta-game" is ever present.

    I think pilots matter for e-sports. We don't want to see "Elise Randolph's alt" or "Ripard Teg's alt" - we want to see the actual character. Going a step further, I think a genuine EVE arena will want to use the pilot's skill points, not a normalised setup.

    Which leaves the question of ships. Does one claim it's a pure simulation, and give everyone an unlimited load-out (to some arbitrary limit, eg T2) and no cost for loss? Is it a "blood-sport" with real ships getting blown up? If so, who pays for these and are they standardised? Is the pilot really "there"?

    How does the "pure virtual" vs "virtually real" play into the game as a whole? Will a pure virtual arena end up with numbers of pilots who never "undock", and spend all their time playing "simulated" matches? Is this a problem? Note that this could be done already on the test server, although there's still the issue of "audiences".

    Stuff to think / talk about.

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    1. I've blogged about what I think an EVE Online arena should look like:

      http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2011/08/two-men-enter-one-man-leaves.html

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    2. Well talking of the test server, they could set it up for the tournament so that all players have all skills to V - they've done this in the past when they wanted players to test cap ship changes. That takes character age out of the equation.

      To take ISK out of the equation, most stuff on the test server is already 100ISK - CCP just need to make sure that the remaining ship equipment is also seeded on the markets.

      Once you've taken those factors out of the equation, you've got something that's more pure. The tournament comes down to finding fleet compositions that work - and flying them on the day.

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  12. Having spent the weekend with my girlfriend, I went to the own3d.tv website to look up this event. Search box didn't return anything. Clicked the EVE Online in the games tag they have a lot of Kil2 videos but nothing on the first 4 pages show this tournament.

    Looked at CCP's page on YouTube, nothing.

    Went to the CCP home page and finally found a link in a small box in the lower left corner.

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    1. Watch the Kil2 videos instead.

      Beats listening to MBIII prattle on like an idiot. Bad enough when he goes off-topic, even worse when he tries to comment on the game play, which just proves his utter lack of PVP skills/knowledge.

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    2. I just searched again for "Eve" on the Own site and nothing came back, not even the Kil2 videos.

      Delete
  13. "the people running the tournament didn't know that this sort of thing was happening until they were told about it on the forums, Twitter, or by reading blog posts about it. It's one of the quirks of the format."

    No it's not a quirk of the format - it wouldn't be hard for CCP to have a monitor up viewing the stream in the same way users do. I worked with a small TV station, and whenever they did a live broadcast, they'd have a downlink of the programme (through standard mens as used by viewers at home) there right next to the uplink to broadcast view.

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    1. Yep, as Fade said, it is standard practice to monitor the feed downstream, for the past 50+ years in the media industry - TV, radio, live performances, Internet streaming, etc. Any one of a million media professionals could have told them, if they had bother to hire one, even as a consultant.

      And, the greenscreen work is just embarrassing.

      This is strictly an amateur production.

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